Thursday, May 23, 2013

No More Sliding

As the rain pelted the back of my neck and soaked my sweatshirt, Kolby and I struggled in the department store parking lot to free Kolby from his kennel. It became obvious rather quickly that Kolby in fact had outgrown his kennel. With an extremely slow and puzzle-like team effort approach to getting him out, I am sure it was not a pretty sight for passerby's to view.

I was pretty wet as we made it to the entrance of the department store for his outing, and Kolby had to do the twist a few times to dry off too. The problem is that Kolby enjoys sliding out of his kennel, even when it is up high in the cargo area of our car. While it is adorable, funny, and creative, it really does not make for good Assistance Dog Behavior. Having to catch a growing 30-something pound puppy as his legs are straight and his belly is scraping the kennel floor, the cargo floor, as his body bends towards the ground with no sign of Kolby catching his flat-out-self leaves this Puppy Raiser laughing while helping him learn not to do that trick.
Yesterday I made him stand in his kennel. He had clearance. But said puppy would not bend his legs to make the quick dip of his head to get out the door. Would. Not. Bend. His. Legs.

I claim Kolby is smart. I know he is smart. But sometimes the elevator does not go to the top. Bend the legs, Buddy, and your head will make it through the door. 
I eventually had to reach in to bend his legs for him and bribe him to move forward. It was embarrassing and not our finest Team Moment. But he eventually came out and we straightened up his vest, my sweatshirt, and regained our dignity before we made it to the sidewalk.
The kennel he has been moved to makes a tight squeeze into the cargo space of our car. I remember fighting this for many months with Haddie before I purchased a seat belt vest that clips to the cargo area. Skipping the next kennel size in the car altogether, Kolby learned all-about seat belt vests yesterday.
 He was so curious and seemed very happy to peak out the window while we were moving. He sat the majority of the time, switching to a Down when his balance became tired. It was fun to see him in my interior rear view mirror. I wish photo captures were easy with black dogs. I am really missing out in sharing the true essence of Kolby. Haddie never sat while in motion - always, always was in a Down.
And - Kolby jumped in the car on the first command request every time yesterday. Praise!! Good job, Kolby!
My girl got in the back with Kolby while we waited for my son to get out of school. The two have a special bond. Kolby turns to a love-bug as he curls up in her lap, as if he were a mere ten pounds, and he will rest his head on her shoulders, and then stretch tall to get above her head. She laughs and snuggles right back. I adore watching their friendship grow.
Having a two hour round trip commute last night to Puppy Class was a fantastic "official ice breaker" for Kolby's new way of riding. He experienced back roads and highways and did excellent. He peaked his head between the seats a few times to snuggle on my son - simply adorable - otherwise he sat or fell asleep, not minding learning to balance with his (limited) freedom the seat belt vest provides, versus a kennel.

Nice work, Kolby. No more sliding out of the car, mmm-kay?!


  1. I know I kind of take for granted the work it took for Cricket to be such an easy traveller in the car now! Wow Kolby is growing!

  2. Smiles to you, Becky!! Haddie was a dream in the car, partly because she might have hated every minute of it. haha.It took much coaxing to get her to jump in, but once in, she was quiet and never moved. =) Kolby will jump in immediately, but he is allllll over the place and gives out a couple whines of lonely "Don't forget I'm waaaaay back heeeeeere!!" Hahaha.